Remarkable magnetic and spin-dependent transport properties arise from well-designed spintronic materials and heterostructures. Half-metallic Heusler alloys with high spin polarization exhibit properties that are particularly advantageous for the development of high-performance spintronic devices. Here, we report fully (001)-epitaxial growth of a high-quality half-metallic NiMnSb half-Heusler alloy films, and their application to current-perpendicular-to-plane giant magnetoresistance (CPP-GMR) devices with Ag spacer layers. Fully (001)-oriented NiMnSb epitaxial films with very flat surface and high magnetization were prepared on Cr/Ag-buffered MgO(001) single crystalline substrates by changing the substrate temperature. Epitaxial CPP-GMR devices using the NiMnSb films and a Ag spacer were fabricated, and room-temperature (RT) CPP-GMR ratios for the C1b-type half-Heusler alloy were determined for the first time. A CPP-GMR ratio of 8% (21%) at RT (4.2 K) was achieved in the fully epitaxial NiMnSb/Ag/NiMnSb structures. Furthermore, negative anisotropic magnetoresistance (AMR) ratio and small discrepancy of the AMR amplitudes between RT and 10 K were observed in a single epitaxial NiMnSb film, indicating robust bulk half metallicity against thermal fluctuation in the half-Heusler compound. The modest CPP-GMR ratios could be attributed to interface effects between NiMnSb and Ag. This work provides a pathway for engineering a new class of ordered alloy materials with particular emphasis on spintronics.
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